Monday, March 25, 2013

Bayshore Half Marathon Training: Week 5

Previous training posts:
 Let's get right to it... this week was not so hot. Here is what is was supposed to look like:

Week 5 | Before.
Ha; totally didn't quite happen like that. This is what did:

Week 5 | After.
 Monday: As planned. I tried out my new bike trainer. I still need to figure out the whole resistance and gear thing, but it was a good 30 minutes. I did some random 30 second intervals to keep it interesting. After, I did this random Denise Austin pilates DVD... pilates is not my favorite.

Tuesday: Also as planned, I even decided to kick up the 400s to 8.4mph, I had been doing them at 8.3. It went well.

Wednesday: I went to a "Detox Yoga Flow" that I really enjoyed. It was 75 minutes and really hit some spots that I needed to stretch out. Then I went home and kept procrastinating the easy 4 miles I had planned. I generally like to run prior to yoga but it didn't happen so I was going to try for after. It got pretty late and then I ate dinner and then waited some and decided to finally go for it around 8:30pm. Not a good idea. I started getting a side cramp and was just not feeling the treadmill and decided to call it quites at 2 miles when I was at about 1.5 and by the time I got to 2 I didn't think I was even going to make it to 2 with the side cramp it was getting so bad.

Thursday: As planned. Don't remember much. On the treadmill. Did the first tempo mile at 7.3 and the second and third at 7.4.

Friday: I got home pretty late and did the whole dinner thing before I ran and decided it wasn't going to happen and I would make it up Saturday.

Saturday: I waited, as usual, and it was a lot later in the day than it should have been. I started getting a cramp again and got nervous about that, I was not feeling the treadmill at all, and overall my head was just not in the game. Physically it would have been fine. But I called it quits at halfway again. Partially to "save my legs" for the supposed 9 miles on Sunday.

Sunday: I decided to run errands and do some of those sorts of things in the morning and afternoon and by the time I got to the run I was just dreading it so much 9 miles was not happening. I stopped at 4.5 and knew I wasn't going to make it that much more on the treadmill. I compromised for 1.5 more miles at pace (meaning it was 3/1 GP) and called it a day. And said that this next week would be better.

All in all I got in two quality speed workouts and if I would have hit 9 miles on Sunday I would have deemed the week enough of a success. I also tried some different cardio which was nice to add to the week and plan to continue to do so. But not on Mondays, I like running on Monday to set the tone for the week, and leave the option of cross for later in the week if/when I want to.

So all in all here are the things I learned this week:
  • I like starting my Monday out with a run. It sets me up for better running the rest of the week.
  • I need to get my runs done earlier in the day.
  • I am soo tired of the treadmill.
And here is what this coming week *should* look like:

Week 6 | Before.
I am moving the trainer to Wednesday and moved my long run to Saturday because of Easter, but I have been considering this change in general. The weather forecast is pretty good for Saturday so I hope it stays that way so I can go it outside which will be tremendously helpful. We shall see how it goes!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The First Go at 13.1: Long Runs

This past Sunday marked a year since my first half marathon! Maybe I should have celebrated with a recap from what I remember from that race... oh well, that will come next in my little "The First Go at 13.1" posts that I am writing for memory's sake. I've already talked about my training plan in general and how hot yoga played a key role in carrying my through the halfs.

As I already mentioned I started skipping a lot of my runs once I started hot yoga. But I tried to keep up with long runs. I am not about to break down each long run I did and when it was since I honestly don't remember, but I remember snippets from different ones so I'm just going to share those thoughts.

 I think I considered my first "long" run 7 miles. It was new distance territory for me and just seemed, well, long. I tried to do this run on the TART trail at home in Traverse City when it was still my winter break. It was not a good idea, the trail was covered in ice and snow. I made it to the next road and decided to run back along the road to my car. That was probably only about 4-5 miles. So I proceeded to drive into town and finish the run on the side walks there. Not the most successful attempt at the new PDR... but I got the distance in somehow.

I also remember when I hit 8 miles down state in East Lansing at school. There wasn't the snow and ice issue and I ran the entire thing listening to Les Mis. Not most people's running music choice, but I love musicals.

Then I hit 9 miles and did it on the treadmill. I decided to stop and get off the treadmill every three miles just for sanity. The idea of running 9 miles in general seemed insane to me at the time and on a treadmill no less. But then I went on to do it at least one more time and did 10 miles on there once as well.

Then the running thing sort of disappeared. My planned long runs went up to 12 miles (I know some plans stop at 10, but I wanted that extra distance for mental 'I can do this' purposes). I never did an 11 mile run, then I went to Arizona and did 12 miles and there was this whole thing with my peroneal tendon which I just decided to do a whole post on. And then I ran DC (March 17, 2013) and did pretty dang well (spoiler for the peroneal tendon post).

Then I had more long runs planned after a week or so of light running after the race in preparation for the Bayshore at the end of May. I probably had at least 4 double digit runs in those 9 weeks in between races. I did 12 miles, once. Two weeks before the Bayshore.

I was semi proud that that even happened. I was only going to make it 10 miles but part way through I decided why not just go for 12 like last time... never mind that it was almost twice the distance as my longest run since DC.

And those were pretty much all the notable long runs... no where near as many as there should have been.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bayshore Half Marathon Training: Week 4

Previous training posts:

Already behind on blogging. Typical. But I am not that behind so we are going to keep plugging along.

Week 4 of training was the first week that I didn't go anything like I had planned. But I got an amazing PR so that is all that mattered this week!

A look back at what was supposed to happen:

Week 4 | Before.
 And here is what actually happened:

Week 4 | After.
 I started the week downstate where my favorite yoga studio is and decided that I wasn't going to cram my runs in and just enjoy the yoga while I could.

Monday was a new instructor. The one I knew and had planned on going to was sick. It ended up being a pretty traditional class; a good mix of the Bikram series, flow, and floor series.

Tuesday was a "slow flow" class with one of my favorite instructors ever. It was slow, hot, and exactly what I needed. We worked on hips from about every angle. Really worked on half moon and triangle. And still managed to get a bit of cardio while also holding poses more. I left class being the most relaxed I have been in ages. Love love love.

Wednesday I was going to wake up early and run on the treadmill at the hotel I was staying at before I met a friend for brunch... I realized my shoes were still in the car right before I went to bed and when I woke up at 7 I was so tired I just knew it wouldn't happen. Instead I spent the day walking around and shopping all day. That's a workout, right?

Thursday was my first run of the week, yikes! Usually it's my fourth. Oh well. I did speed. Eight 400s on the treadmill. They seemed to take a while but went fine. Don't really remember much else from it.

Friday I was going to rest my legs before the race on Saturday but I wanted to get some more miles in so I did 4 easy miles on the treadmill.

Saturday: 5k PR! 23:51 in the snow and cold. It was rough, but oh so worth it.

Sunday; rest yet again. Midway through the week I had decided that I wanted to do 6 easy miles on Sunday... but that just didn't happen. I didn't want to. Not at all. And I used the previous day's PR as an excuse. And after 4 weeks of being completely "on" with my training I decided it was fine.

From a training perspective it wasn't that amazing, but overall it was a great week! I looked at my training schedule and realized that I have 4 more weeks of "hard" training and then a step back week and then 4 more hard and then taper and half marathon week, so this week was just my "rest" week after the 4 hard weeks I put in.

And this is what this week has in store:

Week 5 | Before.
What's that you see? Cross training? Yep, I'm branching out this week!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Leapin' Leprechaun 2013

After well over 2 years I finally ran my second 5k. I have been wanting a more representative 5k PR for years, literally. It used to be wanting something around 26-27 minutes. And then I kept not ever running a 5k and that goal as slowly gotten faster and faster.

I planned on doing this race way back when I first started making my training plan, it would give me time to work on speed before I really started focusing on distance and lost some of the speed. And why not run a race almost exactly a year after a ran my first half marathon?

Well, last year Michigan had unseasonably warm weather... this year... unseasonably cold. It was not awesome. It was about 20* and snowing. There was a bit of snow on the ground to slip and slide in which is always fun. Plus, remember when I said I don't run under 35*? Yeah, I don't like running in the cold. I feel like I spend the entire time trying to warm up... and then I am too hot... and then its over. But thanks to my friend, Sarah, just telling me to do it I signed up about 5 minutes before online signup closed and I was roped into just going for it. I was mildly freaking out.

Morning of the Race
On one hand I didn't want to over do it because I am not used to running in the cold... and on the other my track record shows that I don't really do 5ks so I wanted to make a worth while PR. Plus I was trained and already sub 25'ed on the treadmill. I had it in me.

Well, I did it. 23:51. Heck yes. Not only sub-25, but sub-24. I also got second in 20-24 year old females. Say what?!

I don't have my splits or anything... I turned on my Garmin, "low battery." Such a rookie mistake. I even got it out last night and thought 'oh I just charged that, its ready to go.' False. It apparently doesn't hold a charge. Noted.

I spent a lot of time weaving and trying to run on clear pavement which wasn't always possible. I did have my Garmin for about the first half a mile. I checked in on my pace and it was bouncing around 7:15-8:15 so that wasn't too helpful. Then it went dead and it was just me and pushing it as much as reasonable. I found the snow slippery but not too bad. It made my calves work a bit harder but I surprisingly wasn't afraid of falling.

I can't decide if I am glad I didn't have my Garmin for the race or not. Sometimes I use it as a motivator and sometimes it's a crutch. I think in the end it was good because I only went as fast as I was comfortable (extremely relative term). And didn't try to sustain a fast pace I saw on the watch even when my body is saying to slow down (so guilty of this in races).

Definitely glad I decided to go for it. So worth it. Now on to training hard for a half marathon PR in May!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The First Go at 13.1: Hot Yoga

As I mentioned in my first The First Go at 13.1 post where I talked about my training plan in general, I did a lot of hot yoga during that training cycle. Well, here's an even more indepth story about it.

Near the end of January 2012 I fell in LOVE with hot yoga. Yes, I realize that seems a bit dramatic. But it is true.

I was at school in East Lansing at the time and I knew about a studio (East Lansing Hot Yoga) that had opened up a few months earlier and I had been meaning to try it. I had one day of yoga a week as a goal during training so one day I decided to just go do it.

Where the obsession began...
Well, they have a special where you can pay $20 on your first visit for 2 weeks of unlimited yoga which is a great deal because you just have to go once more in the two weeks to make it worth it. Then I decided to go "as much as possible" to really get my money's worth in those two weeks and then go once a week after that. That didn't happen. The first class I went to after my two weeks expired I signed up for unlimited yoga with a minimum of a 3 month commitment. Whoops, that's a lot more than once a week.

I think I feel in love with yoga for many of the same reasons I fell in love with running. I saw small improvements each time I went and I just wanted to keep seeing more and more. My overall love and appreciation for yoga (and running) goes far beyond that now.

And this is where I would insert awesome pictures of my doing more "party trick" yoga.. but I have none. I should get some though.

I could continue to ramble on about my love affair with hot yoga (mostly this studio in particular as well as comparing some other classes to it and how it will always be my favorite) but I will not bore you with that. The main point is, I started going to hot yoga a lot and running very little because I was spending so much time going to yoga. The only downside was the decreased running. The upsides however were that I got stronger and fitter and 'semi-flexible' and I increased my endurance. The classes I went to were 90 minutes and usually included a large amount of cardio. I honestly think that it is hot yoga that pulled me through both of my half marathons last year.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bayshore Half Marathon Training: Week 3

One more week down, 11 more to go. You can read about the first 3 weeks here.

This is how things went down last week, pretty dang good if I do say so myself:

Week 3 | Completed
Monday started out with some "speed play" as I like to call it. Meaning I just do any type of speed work that strikes my fancy. This week I decided to put my running playlist (that needs some serious revamping..) on shuffle and warm up to the first song and then alternate fast and recovery every song until I reached 3 miles. The "fast" songs I did at 7.5, 8, and 8.5 mph respectively. Overall the workout took me 24:46 which is an 8:15 average pace.

Tuesday was 400s. I did 7 at 8.3 mph with half a mile warm up, quarter mile jog in between each 400 and three quarters of a mile cool down totally 4.5 miles. I did the jogs and warm up/cool down anywhere between 6.5 and 6.7 mph. The entire workout took 37:04 which is an 8:14 average pace.

Wednesday was 3 quick an easy miles before a yoga class. I just got on the t-mill and set it at 6.7 mph for the entire duration. The yoga class I went to is a 90 minute heated (~95*) flow. It's a pretty decent and fairly sweaty class.

Thursday was more speed (I think I do way too much speed atm... but everything else is just sooo boring on the treadmill). 3 tempo miles at 7.3 mph. The entire 5 miles took 42:34; avg pace: 8:31.

First Outside Run of the Season!

Friday.... I made it back outside! This was my first outside run since the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. We have had so much snow I haven't wanted to brave icy, snowy side walks. Friday was sunny and it was about 40* and sunny when I ran around 2pm. I decided to go to the civic center because they have a path around it that is just shy of a mile that they keep pretty clear.

I was aiming to run at about my half marathon goal pace which is currently 8:30... That didn't quite happen. As expected I went out quite fast and after the first mile I tried to slow down but I didn't want to drastically slow my pace. I ended up just doing what felt good. My time was 41:09; avg pace: 8:13. Which is actually faster than my official 5 mile PR from almost 2 and a half months ago. Interesting.

Saturday: rest, glorious rest.

Sunday was the first "not so hot" run. 9 miles on the treadmill. If I had planned ahead I could have run outside on Saturday when it wasn't raining but I partly just did not want to run on Saturday. I tried watching Mamma Mia on my iPad which was not a big enough distraction. At about 4.6 miles I decided I had to stop for a minute and just not be on the treadmill. I ate a Gu at this point even though I probably didn't need it, but better safe than sorry and crashing near the end.

I stopped again just shy of an hour and walked around off the treadmill for a minute before I got back on to finish it out. Once you hit an hour on my treadmill it doesn't tell you seconds anymore so I have to start the stopwatch on my phone so I can know the 'exact' time cause I'm crazy like that.

It seemed to take but I did it. As seen about, total time: 1:20:44; avg pace: 8:58. I really don't need to be doing long runs this fast but a lot of it has to do with not wanting to be on the treadmill that long and it's easier to just set a pace and go for it. I hope to be able to do all my long runs from here on out outside where I will be able to go with what pace feels best at the time.

Here is a look ahead to what this week has in store:

Week 4 | Planned
Spoiler alert: It already isn't quite going as planned. But that is partially because I have decided to not double up on yoga and running this week. I am down at my favorite yoga studio for Monday and Tuesday and I think I am just going to enjoy that and not try to cram in runs on top of it.

Not sure how what I will do for runs, all I know is Saturday will most likely be a small 5k that I am hoping to crush my PR from well over 2 years ago... shouldn't be too hard and I am kind of super excited for a more accurate 5k PR. So this was supposed to be an easy week for because of that anyways.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Only Workout Your Arms?!

We all know that the media is filled with horrible messages in regards to body image, weight loss, dieting, fitness, etc. So I know when I get my monthly subscription to Glamour the the "Health" section is going to be cringe-worthy.

I could mention the apparently tested "dessert at breakfast" diet. (Say what??) But I am just going to focus on the workout they suggest in the April 2013 issue.


The title? "Work Your Arms. Forget the Rest!"

Ok, so I should just be working out my arms because they are the only thing that matter?

Well yes, if your arms are "sexy" it will trick people into thinking that your whole body is "sexy."

Oh ok then, so that means my primary concern is what other people think about my body and not how strong and capable and healthy my body really is?

Yep, you got it!

Awesome. That is the exact message we should be sending!

I will concede that the suggested strength moves target far more than just the arms (abs, thighs, butt, etc.) so the strength moves on their own I have no problem with, they are actually really great suggestions. The problem I have is the message we attach to working out and how its about the way we look and the way other people see us and not about what it does for you and your body on the inside making you stronger and fitter and more capable.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The First Go at 13.1: My Training Plan

Since the main goal of this blog is to have a record of my thoughts and journey of running and training for long distance races I thought I might reflect and share some of the highs and lows that I remember from last year when I trained for my first two half marathons.

First topic to discuss: my training plan.

Going into training my biggest fear was not sticking with my training. So when researching plans to base my own plan off of I was really drawn to the idea of FIRST Half Marathon Training where the basic idea is you run 3 times a week and no junk miles. This doesn't mean that the other 4 days are rest days, but you can read all up on the idea behind that kind of training plan from the link above.

So, in the end my plan had three days a week of running, an interval workout, a tempo run, and a long run. And supposed cross and strength training. Let's just say, this did NOT work for me.

One of my biggest obstacles was that I was always looking forward to what sounded like hard (which they were supposed to be) and awful runs which made it all too easy to postpone them a day and then opps, I need to get in that tempo now too. I never had a nice easy 3 mile run that I could walk out the door and not really even think about; it was all engaged, pace-focused running and that took all the joy out of running.

I didn't plan the cross training days, but biking and swimming are recommended. I have this weird phobia of swimming and not knowing proper technique so there was no way I was about to jump into a public pool with other people around.

I LOVE biking and have a nice road bike, but for the most part it was winter and no where near weather I would comfortably bike in so that didn't happen much until the very end of 'training.' I did however make it to a couple spin classes which I am a fan of. And I did the elliptical a couple times, but I absolutely hate it so I didn't stick with that either. I did do a LOT of hot yoga, but I think I am going to write a whole post on that one!

The main thing was, I didn't have a solid, go-to form of cross training that I could do whenever I wanted and I felt like I "couldn't" just go for an easy 3-4 miler. And you might think I could have just tweaked the plan in the middle... but I abandoned it completely and ran very little. There were some other factors that contributed to this but I'm not going to go into any of those.

So, when it comes down to it I think my 'training plan' was a complete fail. I did well (for me) in both races, but I still wondered what I could be capable of if I trained more properly. And I guess that is what this year is for.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bayshore Half Marathon Training: Weeks 0-2

I made my training plan a while ago and included some weeks before the "official" half marathon training commenced. I have a column for week number and I had all those weeks marked as "0" and then the actual plan is 14 weeks. I totally was not following the pre-training and then I misread it and started at the last week "0" so essentially it is now a 15 week plan numbered 0-14.

The good news is that I have completed all the scheduled runs for the first three weeks as scheduled. The bad news (at least for me) is that I have completed them all on the treadmill. I could complain more about treadmill running, but all I am going to say is that I am thankful that I have it as an option when the temperatures are low (I don't run below 35*F) and/or there is snow/ice on the ground (aka always.. it hasn't stopped snowing this winter).

Half Marathon Training Weeks 0-2
The above is how I completed the weeks; it is not 100% as scheduled because that would be too much to ask. I sometimes make changes at the beginning of the week to account for my schedule or just as I go along. I might talk later about the paces I have been aiming for and my goal paces for an upcoming 5k and the half marathon, but as of now I have been doing way better than expected at my targeted paces and am quite thrilled about it!

Unofficial 5k PR on the Treadmill
The above was from the Monday week 2 run. I started out doing intervals of .4 fast and .1 rest after a half mile warm up. I don't remember the speeds I was using but somewhere around halfway I realized if I kicked it up a bit I could complete 3.1 miles in under 25 minutes... so that's what I did.

One more note on training so far: I know it is very running heavy (6 days a week) and very lacking in strength and cross training. I have some plans for working those in and cutting back to 4-5 days of running a week in the next couple of weeks, especially after my planned 5k on the 16th of March.

And in that same vain, I am very supportive of taking a rest day when your body is worn out and your muscles need the extra time to recover. Not just because you would rather sit on the couch and watch TV while eating the amazing So Delicious Cookie Dough "coconut milk frozen dessert" you just discovered than get your but out the door or on the treadmill. Not that I've even considered that one...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Attempt 3,864, Or Close To It.

So I am back at this strange little blog after a year of silence. The reason I came back is to try to do what I did a year ago: Blog about my experience with half marathon training.

Last year I ran the Rock 'n' Roll USA Half Marathon on March 17, 2012 as my first half marathon and then the Bayshore Half Marathon on May 26, 2012. I had a training schedule that went through both of them and I was going to blog about it. I posted maybe 2 or 3 times at the beginning... and then stopped. No big deal, not like anyone read it anyways.

Well, now I am again training for the Bayshore Half Marathon on May 25, 2013 and when I was making my training plan and starting training I just really wished I had my thoughts from the first time around. I read through bits of the stuff I did manage to publish and I found it quite interesting to see where I was then compared to what I am feeling now. So, I am going to try again. I am about 3.5 weeks into my (admittedly long) training plan and the goal isn't to publish all my runs and all my thoughts, but it is to get into the habit of posting because I signed up for the Chicago Marathon (still doesn't seem real). I really want to blog about training for that and if I get into the habit now... hopefully it will stick when I start training about a month after I run the Bayshore.